Central Iowa Animal Rescue Organization Frustrated Over Extension of Quarantine

DE SOTO, Iowa — One of central Iowa’s animal rescue organizations is dealing with an ongoing issue with the Department of Agriculture over a quarantine for some of its dogs.

The director of AHeinz57 Pet Rescue in De Soto is fed up with the department’s decisions and speaking out.

In a live Facebook video Thursday, Amy Heinz shared her frustrations.

“I’ve had enough of watching these guys living in cages. I’ve had enough and I think all of Iowa should say ‘enough.’ Enough is enough is enough. I have done my very best to be cooperative and to maintain myself and be professional and keep a smile on my face through all of this but I have had it, these dogs deserve better than this…” said Heinz.

She’s talking about dogs that have been quarantined for over three months because one of them was exposed to canine brucellosis at a puppy mill in Marion County. Because the other animals were in contact with that dog, they’re locked up too.

Thursday, the Department of Agriculture ordered another month of confinement after a third test on the dog came back with one positive and one negative. The first two tests were done by Iowa State University and the third test was done by Cornell University.

Keely Coppess, the Communications Director for the Iowa Department of Agriculture, says the tests must come back with both negatives to rule out the illness. She understands Heinz’ frustrations but says they are approaching this issue with an abundance of caution because the illness is spread easily among dogs and can be transmitted to humans. Coppess says several years ago a child died after contracting canine brucellosis from a dog that was purchased from an Iowa breeder.

Heinz claims the test for the illness is 40 to 60-percent inaccurate and is frustrated the Department of Agriculture continues to keep the dogs in quarantine.

Coppess says AHeinz57 could have had tested the other dogs in quarantine after July 9th, to learn whether any have indications of the illness, but has not done so.

Heinz says she was told canine brucellosis would “rear its ugly head” in 12 weeks but the dogs have already been in quarantine for more than 13 weeks with no sign of the illness and she doesn’t understand why the Department of Agriculture called for another 30 days of the quarantine.

Coppess says the Department of Agriculture is not targetting AHeinz57 and they are treating this case the same way they do in any commercial breeding facility, foster home, or shelter.

The next testing to detect canine brucellosis can’t be done until September 1st.

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